deer


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like a deer in (the) headlights

In a state or manner of paralyzing surprise, fear, or bewilderment. Likened to the tendency of deer to freeze in place in front of an oncoming vehicle. When she asked me to marry her, I could only stand there like a deer in headlights. He froze like a deer in the headlights when I caught him taking money out of the register.
See also: deer, headlight, like

deer-in-headlights

(Used before a noun.) Of a paralyzed manner or appearance, as due to surprise, fear, shock, or bewilderment. Likened to the tendency of deer to freeze in place in front of an oncoming vehicle. He had this dopey deer-in-headlights look on his face when I asked him where the money had gone.

a deer in (the) headlights

Someone caught in a state of paralyzing surprise, fear, or bewilderment. Likened to the tendency of deer to freeze in place in front of an oncoming vehicle. Often used in the phrase "like a deer in the headlights." Mary turned into a deer in the headlights when she forgot her lines in the middle of the play. He froze like a deer in the headlights when I caught him taking money out of the register. When she asked me to marry her, I could only stand there like a deer in the headlights.
See also: deer, headlight

be like a deer caught in the headlights

To be visibly startled and frozen in fear. I was like a deer caught in the headlights when my mom asked about that hideous sweater she gave me. When the security alarm started blaring, the burglar was like a deer caught in the headlights.
See also: caught, deer, headlight, like

like a rabbit caught in the headlights

or

like a deer caught in the headlights

If someone is like a rabbit caught in the headlights or like a deer caught in the headlights, they are so frightened or nervous that they do not know what to do. He just sat there, like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Diane fixes me with her cold, blue eyes: I am the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. Note: This expression is very variable. For example, you can just say that someone is caught or frozen in the headlights. He was caught in the headlights as he attempted to answer a string of questions about his relationship. The best thing for a writer caught in the headlights of unexpected celebrity is simply to keep writing and publishing. Note: Animals such as rabbits or deer sometimes remain still because they do not know which way to run when the light from a vehicle's headlights shines on them at night.

(be caught/freeze like) a deer in the ˈheadlights

(also (be caught like) a rabbit in the ˈheadlights) used to describe somebody who appears so frightened that they cannot think clearly and do not know what to do or say: The senator was caught like a deer in the headlights in a TV interview.a deer-in-the-headlights look
See also: deer, headlight
References in classic literature ?
That night, so it was told to me, we of the Jungle did not lie down together as used to be our custom, but each tribe drew off by itself--the pig with the pig, the deer with the deer; horn to horn, hoof to hoof,--like keeping to like, and so lay shaking in the Jungle.
'They will never fear me, for I knew them since the beginning.' Tha said, 'Go and see.' And the First of the Tigers ran to and fro, calling aloud to the deer and the pig and the sambhur and the porcupine and all the Jungle Peoples, and they all ran away from him who had been their judge, because they were afraid.
Aoo!" said the deer, thinking of what it all meant to them.
The deer grunted sorrowfully and Bagheera's lips curled in a wicked smile.
Never again would he eat their fruit; but from that day he revenged himself upon the deer, and the others, the Eaters of Grass," said Baloo.
Leigh Hunt, RHS principal horticultural adviser, says: "Deer are more commonly thought to roam rural areas, but we're seeing a steady rise in the number of people reporting them in town and city gardens.
I was edging closer to a greenshank feeding in a pond on the Tees Estuary last week, with my binoculars close to my eyes, when I virtually bumped into two roe deer.
Controlling Long Island deer populations is especially difficult because state law and local ordinances restrict the options available to wildlife managers.
According to the Associated Press, the Monroe County sheriff's deputy discovered the Key deer while on patrol late Saturday evening and saw that its entire head was engulfed in family-sized Doritos bag.
Unfortunately, 15 deer per square mile would not satisfy any of my clients, and numbers like that are the reason we struggle to recruit young hunters.
"There is a biological need to genetically differentiate deer throughout the country.
The malaria parasite in deer is a different species from the ones that cause disease in humans.
In Illinois, winter severity is usually not life threatening because deer have had access to waste grains and green forages in most winters, and they are seldom confined to specific habitats for long periods by inclement weather.
Surprisingly, a deer's winter food supply is less important to survival than their prior fall food supply.
Spotted deer dance with delight across fields of daisies.